As a proud owner of a Volkswagen diesel car, prolific documentarian Alex Gibney was horrified to learn that he’d been scammed. The supposedly environment-friendly vehicles were pollution machines. That inspired Gibney to direct the first entry in the new Netflix series ‘Dirty Money.’ Each episode examines a different example of financial corruption--from the Volkswagen emission scandal to payday lending to the many failed business ventures of a certain reality TV host who now occupies the White House. Gibney talks about plotting out the making of ‘Dirty Money’ and his recent foray into directing scripted television.
FROM THIS EPISODE
- Disney Animation recently held a “Day of Listening” to give staff an opportunity to discuss workplace concerns with HR professionals. This is in the wake of John Lasseter’s six-month “sabbatical” following allegations of misconduct. Many now are wondering if Lasseter can return.
- As most of Fox is in the process of being sold to Disney, Fox broadcasting--which will remain with the Murdochs--just made a huge deal with the NFL. Fox paid $3 billion for the rights to most Thursday night football games for the next five years.
The new Netflix documentary series ‘Dirty Money’ examines six stories of corporate greed and misconduct. Each hour-long entry is directed by a different filmmaker. Producer and prolific documentarian Alex Gibney did the first episode on the Volkswagen emissions scandal, and it was personal.
Gibney was outraged to learn in 2015 that his beloved “clean diesel” car had in fact been spewing harmful pollutants into the air. Gibney’s car was one of at least 11 million that Volkswagen had fitted with devices designed to hide dirty exhaust when the vehicles went through emissions tests.
In his film, Gibney discovers that many top executives at Volkswagen knew about the massive fraud despite their claims of ignorance. He also found evidence that Volkswagen had tested the effects of diesel exhaust fumes on monkeys.
Gibney has made a career of investigating secretive organizations, including the Catholic Church, Scientology and Wikileaks. His 2005 Oscar-nominated doc “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” examined the collapse of the corrupt energy company.
When Gibney joined us from New York to talk about ‘Dirty Money,’ he said the moment felt right for another look at corporate corruption.
He also tells us about the transition from working on docs to a scripted project, the upcoming Hulu series, ‘The Looming Tower.’
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